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Laid off Kentucky coal miners say final wages remain unpaid

January 7, 2020 GMT

PINEVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Employees laid off from a Kentucky coal company last month say they haven’t received their final paycheck or payment for unused vacation days, according to a former company manager.

About 75 Perry County Coal employees didn’t receive their final paychecks, and the remaining maintenance crew of 24 workers and security guards haven’t been paid since mid-December, David Mullins, former general manager of the company, told the Lexington Herald-Leader on Monday.

Perry County Coal once employed 300 miners, the newspaper reported. Those numbers were quickly slashed after the American Resources Corporation purchased it in September from Cambrian Coal, which filed for bankruptcy and sold most of its assets in Eastern Kentucky.

Federal regulators have blocked the American Resources Corporation from mining coal, according to court filings. The company has 36 outstanding permit violations in Kentucky, records from the U.S. Department of the Interior show. And electricity at two mines could be shut off within a week due to non-payment of electric bills, Mullins said.

Former employees of mining company Blackjewel LLC similarly protested in Harlan, Kentucky, this fall over unpaid wages. Blackjewel’s employees were eventually paid for their past work, but several miners said the checks didn’t cover the late fees they incurred in the meantime. Blackjewel owned mines in Kentucky, West Virginia, Wyoming and Virginia.